Anglo American plc (“Anglo American”) unveiled a prototype of the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mine haul truck designed to operate in everyday mining conditions at its Mogalakwena PGMs mine in South Africa.
The 2MW hydrogen-battery hybrid truck, generating more power than its diesel predecessor and capable of carrying a 290-tonne payload, is part of Anglo American’s nuGen Zero Emission Haulage Solution (ZEHS). nuGen provides a fully integrated green hydrogen system, consisting of production, fuelling and haulage system, with green hydrogen to be produced at the mine site.
nuGen is part of FutureSmart Mining, Anglo American’s innovation-led approach to sustainable mining – which brings together technology and digitalisation to drive sustainability outcomes, including our commitment to carbon-neutrality across our operations by 2040.
Anglo American has been a longstanding champion of the potential offered by the hydrogen economy, recognising its role in enabling the shift to greener energy and cleaner transport. The hydrogen economy provides an opportunity to create new engines of economic activity. With a combination of abundant renewable energy sources (i.e. solar and wind), and as the world’s largest producer of PGMs, hydrogen is a strategic priority for South Africa and presents a significant opportunity for economic development, including the creation of new jobs and the development of the PGMs sector, while also contributing to South Africa’s decarbonisation objectives.
South Africa’s Hydrogen Valley
In South Africa, the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and the South African National Development Institute (SANEDI), in partnership with Anglo American, Bambili Energy, and ENGIE, are looking into opportunities to create a Hydrogen Valley. The proposed hydrogen valley will stretch approximately 835 kilometres from the platinum group metals-rich Bushveld geological area in Limpopo province, along the industrial and commercial corridor to Johannesburg and to the south coast at Durban. The nuGen Zero Emission Haulage Solution is one of the first projects for South Africa’s Hydrogen Valley.
A feasibility study for South Africa’s Hydrogen Valley published in October 2021 identifies three hubs – Johannesburg, extending to Rustenburg and Pretoria; Durban, encompassing the city itself and Richards Bay; and Limpopo province centred around Anglo American’s Mogalakwena PGMs mine – with a fundamental role to play in integrating hydrogen into South Africa’s economy, and in establishing South Africa and its abundant renewable energy resources as a strategically important centre for green hydrogen production. Nine key pilot projects have also been identified across these hubs and are recommended to be prioritised by developers. They span the transport, industrial, and construction sectors.
A world first, developed by Anglo American with its partners
For the nuGen project, Anglo American has worked with some of the world’s leading creative engineering and technology companies, such as ENGIE, First Mode, Ballard and NPROXX, to:
– Design, build, and test a 1.2MWh battery pack, as the haul truck system uses multiple fuel cells that deliver up to 800kW of power, combining to deliver a total of 2MW of power.
– Design and implement a software solution to safely manage power and energy between the fuel cells, batteries, and vehicle drivetrain.
– Develop the power management and battery systems from the ground up, enabling us to tailor the system to each mine and improve overall efficiency by designing in energy recovery as the haul trucks travel downhill through regenerative braking.
– Build a hydrogen production, storage, and refuelling complex at Mogalakwena that incorporates the largest electrolyser in Africa and a solar plant to support the operation of the haul truck.